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Deion Sanders hiring as Colorado football coach confirmed by school - USA TODAY

Deion Sanders hiring as Colorado football coach confirmed by school - USA TODAY

Dec 04, 2022 2 mins, 14 secs

In a stunning turn of events for one of college football’s most beleaguered programs, the University of Colorado has hired football legend Deion Sanders as its new head football coach, instantly raising the national profile of a team that has had only two winning seasons in the past 17 years.

In this case, Colorado’s moonshot for Sanders landed with a bang. The school is expected to pay the Pro Football Hall of Famer at least $4.5 million annually and has hatched a plan for success that might just be crazy enough to work for both sides, even if the cultural fit still seems like an odd combination.

“There were a number of highly qualified and impressive candidates interested in becoming the next head football coach at Colorado, but none of them had the pedigree, the knowledge and the ability to connect with student-athletes like Deion Sanders,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a statement released late Saturday.  “Not only will Coach Prime energize our fanbase, I’m confident that he will lead our program back to national prominence while leading a team of high quality and high character.” .

For Colorado, Sanders, 55, gives the Buffaloes a flamboyant national celebrity who has shown he can do what the program needs – recruit top players from across the country, much like former Colorado coach Bill McCartney did in the late 1980s and 1990s, when the Buffaloes were a national powerhouse.

But that might take some adjustment by the school administration, which has been perceived by fans and alumni as not supportive enough of the football program in the NIL era of college football.

At Jackson State in Mississippi, Sanders also likely received more deference than he might at a high-profile public research university where football is not sacrosanct like it is where Sanders has played and coached in Texas and the Southeast.

With his hire, Colorado also becomes the only major college football school to have hired more than three Black head football coaches on a non-interim basis

“Deion Sanders’ stature transcends sports, and his hiring elevates not only the football program but the university as a whole,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano said in a statement.  “I’m thankful Deion has chosen to join our Buffalo family and I applaud Rick George for a truly inspired choice.  This is an exciting new chapter in the long, storied history of Colorado football and I look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our students, supporters and fans to cheer on `Coach Prime' and our student-athletes next fall.”

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